It's pretty hard to oust an incumbent on a Terry Francona managed team, but we have our first of the year, as Scott Atchison has been optioned to Pawtucket along with Michael Bowden, Rich Hill, Randy Williams, and Brandon Duckworth.
Alex Speier adds that Andrew Miller has also been reassigned.
Atchison proved to be a consistent contributor in last year's bullpen mess, providing decent, if not particularly good relief pitching usually around the sixth and seventh innings. But with an improved crop of players to choose from this year and a poor performance in spring, Atchison just didn't have enough to make the cut.
This seems very likely to open the door for Matt Albers, who was falsely rumored to be bound for Japan earlier this week. With Alfredo Aceves being treated as Triple-A starting depth by the team (and having hit three batters in a minor league outing today), and Hideki Okajima and Dennys Reyes likely only being considered for one left-handed spot, it's hard to see Albers not starting the year with the Red Sox.